Choice?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about what it means to be a parent, and a mother. I have read a few blogs and articles here and there about people choosing to be parents, and people not having children and how it seems to separate us into these different categories of people. I am in my mid thirties, and I have equal number of friends with children, and friends without children. Friends who are married, and those who are still single. Some who are married with children, and some who are single parents. I find theses labels difficult.

First, let me say that I never “chose” to have my children (but I love them and wouldn’t change anything for the record). I was young (21) when I became pregnant with my son. I didn’t actively seek out parenthood. It fell in my lap. I did however choose to be his parent. A decision I did not make lightly, and a story that I am not ready to share yet. My daughter is my technically my step-daughter so I can say that I had NO part in the decisions leading to her birth. But I did choose to be her parent when I fell in love with her father (and her too). But I do not feel that that I “chose” my role as parent before these amazing human beings came into my life. It just was what needed to happen.

After my husband and I married we did “choose” to be parents again. When I became pregnant I was over the moon. Finally a pregnancy I was ready for. I was going to enjoy every minute of it! But it was not be. Our daughter had anencephaly and would not live. After her passing, we tried off and on for another five years with no pregnancy. When we decided to “choose”, the choice was not ours to make.

So when I hear people talking about the choices people have made surrounding children, and more specifically making moral judgments about people based on whether or not they have children, it gets my back up. Each story is different, each story just sort of falls into place, some people make choices and others have choices thrust upon them.

Would I have liked to have more children? I think so. But as my children get older and closer and closer to moving out of my house, I am looking forward to finally having some time alone with my husband. Something that we have never had. Does that make me selfish? Does that make me more selfish or less selfish than someone who “chose” to not have children? There are many days when I envy my childless friends, and their ability to fly off to warm tropical places for all inclusive holidays. But there are also days when I envy friends who have 5 or 6 children and their house is filled with laughter.

Running parallel to this train of thought for me, are some thoughts on how I view myself and who I am. When it comes to writing bios, the first thing that I often write is “mother”. I have been rethinking this. Not that I am not proud of being a mother, I suppose that I am, but I don’t know if I want that to define who I am, just as I am sure, that someone who does not have children wants to be defined as “not-mother”. Especially now that my youngest has turned 14, my time spent “parenting” is really quite low compared to the time I spend say, surfing the internet. I definitely do not put “internet junkie” as the first thing in my bio even though it tends to take up just as much of my time! But it IS conflicting because it does consume so much of who I am and what I do. I share stories of my children with the families I work with. It creates a common thread. So being a parent is an important part of who I am, but it not the only part of who I am.

What are your thoughts? Are you a parent? How big a role does it play in who you are and how you describe yourself? Are you child-free and how does that impact how others view you?

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About mcwhclan

Mom of two, student, wife, daughter... where does one keep all these hats?
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3 Responses to Choice?

  1. So many tough questions! I think we need to go for coffee 🙂

    Sometimes things happen in life that go unplanned and you roll with it. That’s what I did! I love being a Mom! I have also been attempting to update my bio but it’s like smashing my head against a wall. I blog, I have kids, but I don’t necessarily consider myself a Mommy Blogger. But at the sametime I wonder what is my blog? I love to write and have fun!

    I also think that labels are pointless – people change, move forward, and if we stick to the same label. We will never move forward….I think if we all lived a cookie cutter world were everybody is the same then it would be pretty boring.

    Phew! I think I wrote too much :O

  2. LindaSalem says:

    I am now a grandmother and find I have more pride in that than as a mother – maybe because I like my grandkids more than my kids who have become something of a mystery to me. Also, my grandkids like me – a lot. They think I’m VERY cool. Trust me, my children think I am anything BUT cook – lol.

    I always want to high five people who know themselves well enough to know they don’t want to parent for whatever reason. I’ve seen too many people forced into parenting who end up abusing their kids because they do not have the skills or the temperament to be parents but the got pregnant and society said they should be happy and they should keep it.

    I also feel very proud and happy for the women who give their children for adoption. Bravo, bravo. You have made a couple VERY happy. You have ensured your child a good home which you were brave enough to realize you couldn’t give.

    Obviously, I think society dictates the parenting choices people make. I think, for the most part, we need to keep our noses out of other people’s business.

    Although my children are mysteries to me, I do love them so very much. I gave birth once and married two more very nice people when I married their oh-so wonderful dad. They accepted me and made me welcome. I am more grateful than they will ever know.

  3. Lynn says:

    As a stay-at-home mom I struggle with this question all the time. Being a mom is pretty much ALL of who I am these days. I like being home, but sometimes I worry about how other people see me, and I worry about losing myself in my kids. Where do they end, and I begin? Who will I be once they all move out and I’m left alone with myself again?

    Before I had kids, I wasn’t sure it was something I wanted. My younger sister always said that that meant I’d make a good mom, because I was really aware of what was involved and what it was going to take from me – so once I decided to actually commit to it, I’d be all in. I like that idea. My sister, by the way, has decided not to have kids and I know her choice is right for her.

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